If you’re a Major League Baseball fan, I’m sure you know the name Fernando Tatís Jr. Tatís made his MLB debut in 2019 and had a terrific season. The shortstop built off his strong rookie year in 2019 and put together an amazing sophomore MLB campaign in 2020. The rise of Fernando Tatis Jr. is an amazing story.
Tatís, who made his MLB debut before he could legally drink alcohol in the United States, is my front runner to become baseball’s next star. Let’s take a look at the 21-year-old’s meteoric rise from the sandlot in the Dominican Republic to the bright lights of Major League Baseball.
The Meteoric Rise of Fernando Tatis Jr. – Baseball Roots
Fernando Tatís Jr is the son of Fernando Tatís Sr who played in the MLB on and off from 1997 through 2010. Tatís was a trustworthy player for over a decade for five teams. Over his career, Tatís Sr averaged .265 at the plate and went deep 113 times.
His father is most well known for hitting 2 Grand Slams in 1 inning off of the SAME pitcher. An MLB record that will likely never be broken.
Tatís Jr has great baseball roots, but he is already better than his father as a 21-year-old kid. Tatís started his career in the Dominican Prospect League (DPL). This is the premier amateur baseball league in Latin America. The DPL has signed over 1,000 prospects and many of these athletes have made it all the way to America to compete in the MLB.
The MLB has close ties with the DPL and this relationship was how Fernando Tatís Jr was initially discovered. The White Sox signed him in 2015 as an international free agent when Tatís was only 16 years old.
The Meteoric Rise of Fernando Tatis Jr. – The Minors
Tatís didn’t spend much time in the White Sox organization. In fact, he was traded less than one year after his signing before he appeared in a game for the organization. Tatís, who was now 17 years old made his way to San Diego in a small acquisition between the two clubs. I can’t help but think that Chicago regrets this trade now when they see Tatís Jr tearing up baseball every single night.
In 2016, Tatís Jr made appearances for two minor league clubs in the Padres organization. The first portion of his season was spent with the Arizona Padres in the Arizona League which was solely dedicated to rookie talent. He then made the jump to A ball to play shortstop for the Tri-City Dust Devils. As a 17-year-old, Tatís Jr batted .273 between both clubs against some of the best prospects in the MLB pipeline.
Fernando Tatís Jr continued his rise to stardom the following season. He spent the majority of the season in A ball with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, but received the call to AA for the final 14 games of the season.
In 131 total games, Tatís Jr showed his ability to go deep leaving the park 22 times. This statistic wasn’t something that scouts would often see in A or AA baseball so Tatís was rapidly gaining attention throughout the organization. This allowed him to enter the 2018 season as one of the top prospects in AA.
Tatís played 88 games in AA for the San Antonio Missions in 2018. Unfortunately, a broken thumb ended his season early. Before his season-ending thumb surgery, the 6’3” shortstop was batting .286 with 43 RBIs and 16 jacks.
He came back from injury and had a great season in the Dominican Winter League in 2019. In MLB camp in Arizona that year, Tatís showed why he was a top MLB prospect. The Padres knew it was time to bring Tatís to the show and he didn’t disappoint.
The Meteoric Rise of Fernando Tatis Jr. – The Show
Tatís made his MLB debut four years after he was signed by the Chicago White Sox. His debut came on March 28th of 2019 as a 20-year-old. Tatís made an impact in his first MLB season with the club. He appeared in 84 games and hit .317 with 22 homers and 106 hits.
Tatís established himself as the guy for the Padres in 2019 for the following season after his strong numbers the year before. Tatís became the everyday player at shortstop in San Diego and he excelled at a rapid rate. His numbers were down because of MLB’s shortened season due to COVID. However, in 25 fewer games, he almost matched his power numbers from the year before.
Tatís hit 17 home runs and generated 45 RBIs in 2020. Tatís was on pace for 44 homers, 111 RBIs, and a batting average over .300 if the season would’ve been a traditional 162 game slate. Tatís showed his ability to be clutch in the postseason as well in 2020. He led his team to a Wild Card Series comeback against the St. Louis Cardinals by hitting two home runs in Game 2.
Tatís’ 2020 success put the whole league on notice. The 21-year-old was named to the All-MLB First Team and received the Silver Slugger Award which is given to the best offensive player at each position in the AL and NL.
Fernando Tatís Jr had a meteoric rise to MLB stardom. The Silver Slugger couldn’t be off to a better start in professional baseball. Tatís still has a lot to demonstrate, but his work ethic is second to none. He loves proving the haters wrong and every plate appearance is a chance to show people why he is the next phenom of Major League Baseball.
The rise of Fernando Tatis has been so much fun to watch and will continue to be. Get used to this bat flip. It will be filling your television screen for 15+ years.
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